The European Union Air Safety Agency has suspended the authorisation for Pakistan International Airlines to operate in Europe for six months, PIA’s spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
The airline is already under scrutiny after several problems within the group were uncovered recently, including the issuance of fake licences to pilots.
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s announcement last week of the grounding of 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams had caused global concern.
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of 6 months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal against this decision,” a Pakistan International Airlines’ statement said.
The airlines said they are in touch with EASA to allay their concerns and “hope” the suspension will be revoked with their CBMs soon.
EASA said it was, “concerned about the validity of Pakistani pilot licenses” in a letter announcing the ban.
“Following the recent tragic events that M/S Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited has faced, including flight PK8303 on May 22, 2020 and the initial findings laid down in the preliminary accident report showing successive breaches of multiple layers of safety defenses in the safety management system, EASA is concerned that the safety management system is not achieving its primary objective,” it’s statement read.
It noted that PIA had sought to allay concerns about pilots with dubious licenses. “However, this does not mitigate EASA’s concern, as there are strong indications that a high number of Pakistani pilot licenses are invalid. EASA therefore no longer has confidence that Pakistan, as the state of operator, can effectively ensure that operators certified in Pakistan comply at all times with the applicable requirements for crew qualification,” it added.